Category Living History

When the Past Seeps into the Present . . .

Those of you who frequent Facebook know about Throw Back Thursday, when people post photographs from their pasts. I like to torture my son by posting pictures of him when he was a baby. But recently I had reason to contemplate my own childhood, when Julia Robb, an author and a friend of mine, read […]


Sheer cliffs. Indians lined up at the ridgeline. Horses kicking up dust as they switchbacked down the steep sandstone slope. It was all wrong. I’m working on a new novel. I had written a scene that takes place in the winter of 1879 at the real-life site of the Ashurst family cabin. The Ashursts, an […]


Many of the reenactors I’ve talked to credit the 1950s and 60s television shows and movies with igniting their passion for the Old West and its characters. In the case of El Paso native Jerry Eastman, he had the added incentive of family lore which claimed they were related to Bat Masterson (William Bartholomew (Barclay) […]

The British are Coming!

This month I’m celebrating the 4th of July by introducing you to an Old West reenactment group located in England. That’s right! While 238 years ago, the colonies and the British Empire went at it with muzzle-loaded muskets and flintlock pistols and quite a bit of animosity, nowadays the historical American West is popular in […]

Making Research Fun

I strive to make my settings real, to pull a reader into a time long gone. Research is necessary to achieve historical authenticity, but that doesn’t have to mean hours in a dusty reference room, digging white-gloved hands into accession folders. Research can be fun! Yes, I did my time in libraries and university collections, […]

A Special Extra

A Special Extra May 2014 A Million Ways to Die in the West, due to be released May 30, written by, directed by, and starring Seth MacFarlane. Other stars include Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Seth MacFarlane, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman and . . . Mac Ryder! If you’ve never met Mac, who […]

A Visit to a Victorian Dress Shop

A VISIT TO A VICTORIAN DRESS SHOP April 2014 If you’ve ever had the eerie feeling that you just found yourself in a place you’d been to before, maybe in a different time, maybe in a different life, I know the person to talk to. Diana Okeson is the proprietor of the Victorian Dress Shop […]

A Different Kind of Home

A DIFFERENT KIND OF HOME AUTHENTIC LODGINGS ON THE PLAINS March 2014 This month’s topic isn’t so much about living in the past as it is about making sure the past is accurately represented. When I started joining various groups online, I stumbled across a group devoted to constructing tipis, the traditional home/lodge of the […]


LIVING HISTORY – FOR THE LOVE OF IT Years ago, in the late 1990s, I volunteered at the Pioneer Living History Museum, just north of Phoenix, Arizona. I was usually assigned to what was known as The Ranch Complex – a small cabin with a root cellar and spring house and chicken coop. A good-sized […]